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Drop Foot, also known as Foot Drop, is often thought of as a neurological disability. While the condition is caused by neurological problems, it is not a stand-alone illness but rather a condition of another underlying health issue. Drop Foot can be cured or minimized depending on the cause and possible treatments. Knowing the symptoms and the pre-existing conditions can help determine proper identification and treatment of the condition.
The term Drop Foot is used to describe difficulty in lifting the front part of your foot. Drop Foot is a neuromuscular disability affecting your ability to raise your foot at the ankle. Further characteristics include not being able to point the toes or move the foot at the ankle either left or right. Drop Foot is also identified by an exaggerated high step or gait. Dragging the front of your foot can be another sign.
Drop Foot is caused by an underlying medical condition and can be either temporary or permanent. Usually this is caused by a nerve injury below the knee. The main symptom of Drop Foot, and often the only symptom, is the limited ability to lift the front portion of the foot. This will cause the foot to drag or вЂњslapвЂќ the ground with each step. Raising your thighs when walking, as if to climb stairs, is another symptom of Drop Foot.
Drop Foot is caused by a weakness or paralysis of muscles below the knee. The specific muscles involved are those involved in lifting the foot. General causes are classified into three types: anatomical, muscular and neurological. Specific causes can include injury to the muscles or nerves that control the ankles or toes; forms of muscular dystrophy and compartment syndrome causing nerve compression; multiple sclerosis and other nervous system disorders; stroke; and reaction to some medications used for chemotherapy or multiple sclerosis.
Drop Foot is diagnosed during physical examinations. Your physician's diagnosis depends on the symptoms and history described during the exam. Often, additional tests may be ordered to positively determine the condition. These tests can include MRIs to create a cross-section image of the foot, or an EMG, which measures electrical activity in your muscles and nerves.
Treatments for Drop Foot are dependent on what the cause of the condition is. This can range from wearing braces or splints for a period of time to surgery. Braces help hold your foot in place; physical therapy exercises can also help in walking. If the condition is caused by nerve damage from physical injury such as strokes, nerve stimulation can help with the use of a battery-operated electrical stimulator. Some cases require surgically repairing nerve damage. This can include disc removal or spinal realignment.